After Luck, Stanford thin at quarterback position


After Luck, Stanford thin at quarterback position

Aug. 16, 2011
STANFORD (AP) -- Brett Nottingham and the rest of Stanford's backup quarterbacks figured out how to impress the coaching staff by the end of the first fall practice.All they had to do was mimic Andrew Luck."Because if you're following Andrew, you can't be doing anything wrong," Nottingham said, chuckling. "It's tough to follow him at any point and then ever be in trouble."Easier said than done.If anything were to sideline the Heisman Trophy favorite for more than a few snaps this season, the Cardinal would be in serious trouble. The other quarterbacks on the roster have attempted a combined two collegiate passes, and there's not a clear front-runner to become Luck's eventual successor.New coach David Shaw made it a point in his first team meeting to call out three key areas this year: offensive line, defensive line and backup quarterback. The latter has easily been his most difficult challenge."The hardest part is not trying to hold them up to Andrew's standard," Shaw said. "It's too high. We have to kind of take a deep breath when Andrew comes out and adjust our expectations."The three-man race to be Luck's backup is one of the most unsettled situations on a stacked Stanford team.Nottingham, a redshirt freshman, is competing for the job along with redshirt sophomores Josh Nunes and Robbie Picazo. Nunes' one pass for 7 yards is the only completion any of them have.Not that there wouldn't be a significant drop-off behind Luck.With so much of the offense revolving around Stanford's standout quarterback, the Cardinal are merely trying to close the gap between starter and backup. The goal is more to offset an in-game emergency than a season-ending injury, which would derail any championship hopes this season anyway."If Andrew breaks a shoelace, it could be in the middle of the fourth quarter in a must-win situation," Shaw said. "Whoever that guy is that steps in, he's got to have the confidence of the huddle and of the coaching staff."Right now, nobody other than Luck commands that attention.The three have all split time behind Luck after more than a week of training camp. Shaw doesn't expect to name a winner until the first week of the season, which begins at home against San Jose State on Sept. 3.For the players, the daunting task of replacing a quarterback that was the NFL draft's likely No. 1 pick can be a painful and frustrating one. It does, however, have its perks this season: the three backups all have a chance to learn from Luck in the film room, weight room and on the field."I might be annoying him a little bit with so many questions," Nottingham said. "I've been trying to pick his brain and find out what he does when no one is looking that makes him so successful."Of course, sometimes observing Luck so often only shows how much they have to improve."He's so technically sound, not just physically," Picazo said. "That's what makes him so good. Just being able to watch him on film and in person, watch his drops, watch his reads, watch how he affects safeties. Just watch it and do it however close to it as you can."Shaw isn't preaching patience with his backups, either.Although Luck is the most solid starter at his position in the country, the unthinkable is always one play away. Luck has spoken only kind words about his backups, saying all the things starting quarterbacks always do.Luck took out an NCAA insurance policy that could protect him for up to 5 million, and his family also bought private insurance that could cover him for millions more should an injury occur. Stanford is still searching for its own fallback plan.Even if it's hard to imagine cashing it in this season."We kind of view him as Superman. He seems like he's indestructible out there," Nottingham said. "But at the same time, you got to approach every day as if you're going to be the guy. You have to prepare, because if you get thrust into playing, you can't just be a deer in the headlights."

For Draymond Green, protests can't be short-lived: 'We're screwed' if they end soon

For Draymond Green, protests can't be short-lived: 'We're screwed' if they end soon

OAKLAND -- Easing into a seat for an interview a half hour after the Warriors finished practice Monday, Draymond Green responded to the first six questions at decibels barely above a whisper.

There was candor on basketball matters, because there always is with Green, but the power forward’s tone was relatively relaxed.

Not until the next several questions, all related to America’s polarizing sociopolitical climate, did Green’s heart and mind lock into rhythm. Asked if he believes the current wave of protests against inequality will go away soon, his voice picked up volume and conviction.

“I hope not,” Green said. “If it goes away, then we still have a problem. So I hope it’s not going away in a few weeks. Then we’ve missed the message again.

“So, no, I don’t think it’ll be gone away in a few weeks. And I pray that it’s not, because it’s not a problem that can be fixed in a few weeks. So, no, it shouldn’t be gone in a few weeks.”

Green acknowledged that he did not see the demonstrations that were spread across the NFL landscape on Sunday. He was, he said, out shopping and enjoying the day with his children.

He was aware that some teams stayed in the locker room during the anthem, that others knelt on the sidelines and that some linked arms. Being aware was not enough for Green to feel comfortable addressing that aspect.

But he’s very familiar with the subject matter.

“You just have to stand for what you believe in,” Green said during an answer than lasted more than two full minutes. “What everyone else may believe in, you may not believe in.”

Articulating the difference between the life of the athlete and that of a soldier, Green explaining that he has the “utmost respect” for those in the military.

“I just hope that there can be an understanding that this isn’t against the military,” he said. “It’s not to disrespect anything they do. Because I think everyone respects what they do . . . I appreciate everything they do.”

It was evident, however, that Green is on the same page as those pushing for the progress that would make America great, allowing the country to live up to its pledges stated in the constitution and elsewhere.

That’s why he hopes this activism is not a trend but a movement.

“I’m not saying kneeling shouldn’t be gone,” Green said. “But this conversation, trying to make these changes, absolutely not. If it’s gone in a few weeks, we’re screwed.”

Giants lineup: Pence leading off, lefties back in against D'backs

Giants lineup: Pence leading off, lefties back in against D'backs

After batting fourth on Sunday in Los Angeles, Hunter Pence is back in the leadoff spot in the series opener against Arizona.

Additionally, Denard Span, Joe Panik and Jarrett Parker return after sitting against Clayton Kershaw.

San Francisco Giants:
1. Hunter Pence (R) RF
2. Joe Panik (L) 2B
3. Denard Span (L) CF
4. Buster Posey (R) 1B
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Pablo Sandoval (S) 3B
7. Jarrett Parker (L) LF
8. Nick Hundley (R) C
9. Johnny Cueto (R) P

Arizona Diamondbacks:
1. Gregor Blanco (L) LF
2. Kristopher Negron (R) SS
3. Brandon Drury (R) 2B
4. Christian Walker (R) 1B
5. Rey Fuentes (L) CF
6. Adam Rosales (R) 3B
7. Jeremy Hazelbaker (L) RF
8. John Ryan Murphy (R) C
9. Zack Godley (R) P